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Seward Law Office, P.A. Motto
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Prepping For Hurricanes While Buying Florida Property


Many prospective property owners in the Sunshine State are well acquainted with the state’s hurricane season, and are ready and willing to put in the work to protect their new homes. However, there are many situations in which a buyer or new homeowner can be caught by surprise, most often because of a lack of duty to disclose issues related to hurricanes. If you are intending to buy, or have just bought, real estate in Florida, make sure that you are aware of both what may be required to hurricane-proof your home, and what information you might be owed on the subject.

Buyers Must Do Due Diligence

According to data from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness in 2023, out of the 20 counties where hurricanes hit most frequently, 9 were in Florida. While Hillsborough County is not on that list, it is on the list of counties most financially affected by storms. It is in the best interests of every property owner to effectively hurricane-proof their home, but some do not, either because they underestimate the danger, lack the funds, or are simply not aware of the necessity due to an error or an intentional choice by the seller of their property.

For a prospective buyer of property, the issue of hurricanes can be concerning in a different way, simply because there are many factors that can increase the likelihood of hurricane damage to a home and not all of them are immediately apparent. The process of purchasing a house does have some safeguards – for example, the standard FARBAR real estate contract most commonly used in Florida contains a provision to postpone or even cancel a closing in the event of a hurricane – but the information a buyer needed is not necessarily required by the purchase and sale agreement.

No Duty To Disclose Some Issues

When someone is purchasing a home, they can do so either via a standard purchase and sale agreement, or they may agree to do so “as is,” which uses a different form. Buying a home “as is” effectively frees a seller from having to make certain repairs before sale – but it does not absolve a seller from their duty to disclose any defects in the property that may have a “substantial impact on its value or desirability” that a buyer cannot see for themselves.

It is important to note, however, that some facts that might otherwise be relevant are not required to be disclosed to a potential buyer in Florida. Perhaps the most relevant in terms of hurricanes is flood damage; as of this writing, there is no duty for a seller to disclose any previous flood damage to their property before selling it, but flood damage can create serious problems for many buyers, to say nothing of weakening a home’s foundation and making the fallout of future storms even more dangerous.

Contact A Tampa Real Estate Attorney

Hurricane preparedness is just one issue that a real estate buyer must be aware of when searching for the right property. If you have questions or concerns about a seller’s obligation in this regard, attorney Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office may be able to help get them dealt with, to set your mind at ease. Contact a Tampa real estate attorney from our office today.


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